The effects of the hepatic peroxisome proliferators (HPPs) clofibrate, di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate (DEHP), mono-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (MEHP) and 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D) on the activities of some peroxisome-associated enzymes and marker enzymes for other organelles, have been studied in primary Syrian hamster embryo (SHE) cells and Wistar rat embryo (WRE) cells. The majority of the cells are fibroblast-like. 12-O-Tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) was included as it has been suggested that it may act as a peroxisome proliferator. The specific activities of catalase, fatty acyl-CoA oxidase (FAO) and peroxisomal beta-oxidation were approximately 100-fold lower in the embryonic cells than in rat hepatocytes. Other peroxisome-associated oxidases were not detected. The dihydroxyacetone-phosphate acyltransferase (DHAPAT) activity was comparable to that in rat liver. Marker enzymes for other organelles had specific activities comparable to rat hepatocytes. Catalase was shown by digitonin titration to be contained in a peroxisome-like compartment in both SHE and WRE cells. Clofibrate, DEHP and MEHP increased the catalase activity, which might suggest peroxisome proliferation. However, the findings that FAO and peroxisomal beta-oxidation did not increase or only very slightly, argue against peroxisome proliferation. 2,4-D and TPA induced no or only a very slight increase in the catalase activity.